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Imaginal PoliticsImages Beyond Imagination and the Imaginary$
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Chiara Bottici

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157780

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157780.001.0001

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The Politics of the Past

The Politics of the Past

The Myth of the Clash of Civilizations

(p.127) 7 The Politics of the Past
Imaginal Politics

Chiara Bottici

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines how the spectacularization and virtualization of politics affect the search for legitimacy in a more or less invented tradition—what it calls the “politics of the past.” More specifically, it argues that mythical and historical narratives are not necessarily the same thing, but that they tend to converge in contemporary societies. In a global society of the spectacle, references to “traditions” tend to assume mythical connotations. The chapter first considers what constitutes a mythical narrative in general and a political myth in particular before explaining how political myth relates to historical narratives. It then explores how contemporary spectacularization and virtualization of politics have further increased what has been called the primacy effect of political myth. Finally, it looks at the recent success of the myth about a clash between Islam and the West.

Keywords:   spectacularization, virtualization, politics, legitimacy, politics of the past, historical narrative, mythical narrative, political myth, Islam, West

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